The Palace Press announces a “new” Gustave Baumann book!

A look at the Gustave Baumann book Indian Pottery Old and New

The Press at the Palace of the Governors

announces with great pleasure

A NEW Book by Gustave Baumann

Indian Pottery Old and New

An entry in the December 31,1919 issue of El Palacio magazine reported an exhibit of woodcut prints by Gustave Baumann. On display were pages of what the article called a “wonder book,” Indian Pottery Old and New, said to have been printed in an edition of 50 copies. That showing, and another in Chicago in 1920, were the last times the work was seen in public, and the book was little-known to collectors and admirers of Baumann’s work for nearly a century. Only a few of the fifty copies planned for that 1919 edition were completed, and no more than a dozen are found today in museum, library or private collections. In 1937 Baumann worked on a much-expanded version, and as late as 1950 he still spoke of his intent to bring out a book on Southwestern Indian pottery. So, like the book’s title, we present a book by Gustave Baumann that is both old and new. It is yet another display of the artist’s wit, ever-sharp eye and sure hand.

The block-book style text and fifteen woodcut studies of Indian pottery were carved within a year of Baumann’s arrival in Santa Fe, and we have followed the design of the booklet as he first conceived it. Variations in its black-only format were suggested by changes in his 1937 prototypes, most notably the introduction of brown background blocks carved for all of the pottery groupings. Those blocks, now in the collection of the New Mexico History Museum, are printed here for the first time. Many of the pots, so skillfully rendered, are in the collections of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the School for Advanced Research.

One hundred forty-five copies of the book were printed by Thomas Leech and James Bourland on Baumann’s remaining supply of Arak paper made by the Whitehead and Alliger Company. That a ream of this paper remained at the time of his death in 1971 may indicate that he had been saving the paper for this very project. Handmade paper covers by Thomas Leech include Baumann’s mouse-chewed canvas tool belt (too far gone to restore), New Mexico mica, and recycled paper trimmings from some of Baumann’s other papers.

The 28-page soft cover book measures 6.75 by 8 inches and comes in a hard-cover folder made by Rosalia Galassi. The price of the book is one hundred sixty dollars, which includes  USPS Priority postage.

How to Order in the Time of COVID-19 

If you wish to reserve a copy of this book, please email your request to: 

(For Institutional purchases, contact Thomas Leech at the above address)

However, books will be mailed only upon receipt of check, made out to:

Museum of New Mexico Foundation 

and mailed to:

Palace Press, c/o Thomas Leech

2 Casa Del Oro Loop

Santa Fe, NM 87508 

(This is a museum approved teleworking location)

Please include contact information and an address where the book will be mailed.

The Generosity of Friends

Artist Gustave Baumann created this autumn-toned color wheel in 1930.

Artist Gustave Baumann created this autumn-toned color wheel in 1930.

Not all of Santa’s presents end up underneath someone’s Christmas tree. Quite a few of them landed in our collections.

Generous donors surprised and delighted us with some remarkable year-end gifts. We’re still sorting through the record-keeping details, but here’s a peek at a few donations that will help us better tell the story of New Mexico.

Continue reading

Gustave Baumann Mysteries: A Conservator Takes a Crack

Artist, printmaker and woodworker Gustave Baumann has a well-deserved “beloved” status in Santa Fe, his home for the final 53 years of his life. The Palace Press at the History Museum re-created his studio, using his original materials, tools and furnishings. The New Mexico Museum of Art owns a number of his prints (some of them on display in an exhibit right now) and the replicas and originals of marionettes he carved for theatrical performances.

So what’s a conservator from Indiana doing here this week prowling around his legacy?

She’s trying to solve a couple of lingering mysteries that Baumann left behind.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art holds a complete set of prints Baumann made during his youthful stint in that state’s Brown County Art Colony, and Claire Hoevel, senior conservator of paper for the museum, wants to find out exactly what his materials were — pigments, bindings, gessos, the fibers in his papers.

“Our hope,” she said, “is to gain a very thorough understanding  of Baumann and his processes, how he worked, and his enormous accomplishments. ”

Thanks to the bottles, cans and jars of materials Baumann left after his 1971 death — materials that are now part of the Palace Press’ exhibit — Hoevel has an opportunity rare in conservator circles.

“It’s an extraordinary thrill for me to come out here and take actual samples,” she said. “Because I can, we won’t have to invade the works themselves. ”

The biggest question she hopes to answer is what Baumann used to bind his pigments.

“It’s important for lovers of Baumann,” she said. “He’s known to have mixed his own paints — a very traditonal process, grinding his own pigments. But the binder he used is a mystery. A vague term is used to describe it, `varnish.’ So, we’re sampling the varnishes here in hopes of cracking this mystery. It would explain why Baumann’s prints and inks look the way they do and how they acted when they went through the process. It was unique to Baumann.”

A secondary unsolved question lies in what we might as well call The Mystery of the Disappearing Ink.

It seems that at one time, one very narrow period of time, Baumann used a particular aqua ink to sign his prints. The signature was visible on the prints when Hoevel’s museum obtained them, but today, it’s gone, vanished, even from prints that were held in dark storage.

“You have a tiny bit of it here,” Hoevel said, showing (at left) a few tablespoons of a whitish powder in a brown bottle from the old Zook’s Pharmacy on the Santa Fe Plaza. “We have remnants of it on other prints —  maybe enough for analysis. The big question we have is what was the binder. Then, it’s what the heck was that ink?”

For her samples, Hoevel puts about an eighth of a teaspoon of each powdered pigment into a vial. Drops of the varnishes were placed in vials that she left open in hopes of evaporating the liquid to make it easier to transport them back to Indiana. A scientist there will test the pigment samples using microfadometry to determine their light tolerance. With that knowledge, the museum officials will know how long they can exhibit Baumann’s pieces and in what kind of lighting. The results may also affect their loan policy.

During her week in Santa Fe, Hoevel’s giving it the full Baumann treatment. She visited the Museum of Art exhibit, The Prints of Gustave Baumann, checked out the Baumann woodblocks held by the History Museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, and visited the Jane & Gustave Baumann House now owned by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. Alas, she won’t stay long enough to see the replicas of Baumann’s marionettes perform during the Museum of Art’s Holiday Open House on Dec. 18.

According to Hoevel, folks in Indiana consider Baumann’s Brown County stint as “his formative years. We made him what he is,” she said, jokingly.

During those years, he “did a great number of extraordinary woodblock prints,” though what items will be displayed pending her investigation’s results has yet to be determined by museum curator Martin Krause.

While Hoevel’s work this week in Santa Fe will certainly produce valuable information for Krause, he may be surprised at what other information she brings back.

“I’m trying to pressure him into doing a marionette room,” she said with the slightest of smiles.



Remembering Ann Baumann

Observant visitors to our main exhibition, Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now, may have noticed the late-18th-century horse-and-rider toy in an exhibit case with other playthings of the era. Extra-observant visitors may have noticed a name on the label marking who gave the toy to us: Ann Baumann.

The daughter of famed artist and printer Gustave Baumann was an especially kind friend of the museum, which houses a recreation of her father’s Santa Fe studio in the Palace Press. (A video accompanying the exhibit includes an interview with Ann.) She also donated her father’s paper archives to the museum’sFray Angélico Chávez History Library.

The role she played in her father’s artwork and the life she lived in a house bursting with creativity was detailed by Carmella Padilla in a 2009 El Palacio magazine article. “A home full of art was the only home I knew,” she said in the article.

As a child, Ann served as a model for many of the marionettes her father carved–some of which are now held by the New Mexico Museum of Art. (Replicas of them come out to play once a year at the museum’s Holiday Open House, this year from 1-4 pm on December. 18.)

On view through March 18 at the Museum of Art is The Prints of Gustave Baumann. The Historic Santa Fe Foundation owns Baumann’s 1923 Santa Fe house and opens it for tours occasionally.

Ann passed away earlier this month at her home in Santa Rosa, Calif., and we wanted to honor her time here. Here is a story about her that appeared in this week’s Santa Fe New Mexican. Below is an obituary prepared for her. We join those who knew her in wishing her well on this leg of her journey.

Ann Baumann, philanthropist, social worker, and community activist, passed away peacefully with friends by her side on November 15, 2011, in Santa Rosa, California. Friends will miss her humor, frankness, compassion, and grammatical correctitude. Ann was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico to artistic parents on July 31, 1927. As a child she was introduced to poets, painters, patrons, musicians, opera singers, playwrights, and social activism. Ann attended public school in Santa Fe before her parents enrolled her in Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque. She left New Mexico in 1944 to attend Bradford Junior College in Bradford, Massachusetts. Upon graduation she returned to California settling in Pasadena while working at International House. Ann enrolled at the University of California Berkeley in 1956, earning her B.A. in Psychology in 1958 and her Masters degree in Medical Social Work in 1961. She was resident of Sonoma County since 1964, where she worked for the State of California and the County of Sonoma as a medical and psychiatric social worker.
A believer in giving to those in need as well as to her community, Ann gave generously to various charities and worthy organizations. At the local level she was a patron of the Santa Rosa Symphony and a generous supporter of the Sonoma Land Trust. She did not forget her hometown and made generous contributions to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, the Santa Fe Opera, and Historic Santa Fe, which purchased and restored her family home.
The American Association of Blood Banks honored and saluted Ann “for noble generosity to the ill and injured over many years through the unselfish donation of 10 gallons of blood.” Ann was also honored by Bradford College for her commitment to serving and helping others.
Her father, Gustave Baumann, was an artist now famous for his color woodcuts depicting the American landscape and her mother, Jane Henderson Baumann, was an opera singer, stage actress, and community activist. Ann safeguarded and promoted her father’s legacy with donations of his work to the British Museum; Cleveland Art Museum; Georgia Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; Indianapolis Museum; Library of Congress; New Mexico Museum of Art; New Mexico History Museum; and the Worcester Art Museum.
Ann was a charter member of the Society for Clinical Social Work and served on its Board of Directors. As a member of the local chapter of Soroptimist International, she served on its Board of Directors for three terms and was considered a life member. Ann was also a member of the Sonoma County Council for Community Services and the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County.
A celebration of Ann’s life is planned for Sunday, December 11, 2011, between 3 and 4 p.m. at Friends House, Commons B, 684 Benicia Drive, Santa Rosa. Please RSVP to Doris Davidson at 707-537-0891 or 707-490-7055. Friends are encouraged to make memorial donations to charitable organizations of their choosing.